Coming off a win in one of the best games in recent memory, the Vikings team, and fans are riding high; as they should be. However one aspect of the game that cannot be overlooked is the poor play of the Vikings offensive line, which time after time gave Kirk Cousins minimal time to get the ball off, leading to rushed passes and having a large part in his 2 interceptions. Although these interceptions did not end up costing them the game, they were a large part in keeping it so close, and could end up costing them bigger games down the line. Enter Peter Skoronski, the solution for Minnesota’s woes. After covering A&M’s DB Antonio Johnson last week, we head to Chicago to take a look at Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, an offensive tackle.
While we’d like to think otherwise, it is impossible not to helmet scout, and see the immediate similarities in the style of Skoronski to that of the 2021 13th pick also out of Northwestern, Rashawn Slater. Furthermore, Skoronski and Slater have the same main hit on them, being their short arms. Their other commonality is their equally elite production at the small football school, where in his final year, Slater graded by PFF as an 89.9 point pass blocker. What’s better, Slater has translated well to the NFL, only allowing 1 sack this entire season, before tearing his biceps early in October, effectively ending his season. Skoronski on the other hand, has graded as a 92.3 pass blocker, and is the only offensive tackle in college football to have above an 85 pass and run blocking (87.7) grade. Coming into the season Skoronski was almost considered the top Tackle in the class, and he has lived up to those expectations, yet it may still be possible for him to drop to the Vikings, or be available in a trade up spot. This is due to the rise of OSU’s Paris Johnson, Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Penn State’s Olu Fashanu. Skoronski has held this elite grade all while playing through a tough schedule of fierce defense’s and pass rushes, such as Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State.
Besides physical similarities to elite linemen of Northwestern past, Skoronski himself compares well to NFL tackle standards. Measuring 6’4, he is on par with the average height of an NFL tackle. At 295 pounds, he is just 5 pounds short of the average weight, which can easily be put on once in an NFL weight room with a perfected diet. Although not outstanding physically, his speed and explosive hands are sure to impress scouts in every front office. Skoronski wins through his movement, and is near impossible to get past, with quick footwork and lateral movement, he may not always overpower opposing rushers, but will be able to get in front of and hold off the most athletic of rushers. However one quick YouTube search will show you all you need to see of his ability to pancake opposing defenders in the run game. In the 2021 season, Skoronski faced off against eventual 2nd round pick David Ojabo, and was able to get into pass sets with ease, and mirror his pass rush moves. All of these traits show a promising player that should be able to slide into any exterior offensive line role in the league.
So where does he fit on the Vikings? Christian Darrisaw has developed into one of the elite tackles in the league, posting an 89.1 PFF grade through the first 10 weeks. With left tackle not being an option, we look to right tackle, with Brian O’Neill. Although he was signed to a 5 year, 92.5 million dollar extension just before the 2021 season, his 78.7 grade through the ‘22 season has left much to be desired, and a move to the interior could benefit both him and the overall play of the line. He could replace either Ed Ingram or Ezra Cleveland, most likely the former. Adding Skoronski to an offense already chalk-full of elite skill players would solidify the protection for Kirk Cousins for years to come.